Uses blend of traditional and modern scientific methodologies for improving Indian desi cow breeds. Attains success in breeding Sahiwal cows through latest technology
“Cow yields milk for its calf and not for us! We are actually allowed to take the milk of the cow that is left after feeding its calf. It is inappropriate to consider cow as milk producing machine and then questioning its milk yielding capacity by comparing it with foreign dairy breeds! With this wrong attitude and doubting our indigenous cows, some breeds have become endangered while few are almost extinct. Further quality of cows of native breeds has become impure due to indiscriminate cross breeding with HF and Jersey breeds. Better late than never many of us are restoring our treasure of Indian desi cows by taking enormous care of these unique desi cow breeds of India,” says Swami Chinmayanandji, expert in breeding Indian desi cows. He heads Kamdhenu program of Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (DJJS), headquartered at Nurmahal, Jalandhar district, Punjab.
The not-for profit DJJS was founded by Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji. The organization is working vigorously on many social projects and Kamdhenu is one such project. It is focused on re-establishing value of native cows in India. “Kamdhenu is Indian cow breed improvement and conservation program concentrating on five native milking breeds namely Sahiwal, Gir, Kankrej, Tharparkar and Hariana (local breed found in Haryana state). In our country altogether we have 40 different desi breeds of cows out of which amongst the milch breeds Sahiwal is the highest-milk yielding breed. These breeds were endangered therefore 10 years before Shri Ashutosh Mahraraj Ji took an oath to conserve them. Under his guidance, at the moment we could increase quantity and quality of these five breeds. Precisely in Sahiwal we have the herd size of around 800 and 300 (including bulls, cows and calves) cattle at Nurmahal and New Delhi gaushala respectively,” he adds.
Selective breeding, bull mother farming, pedigree chart management, research & development and capacity building of farmers, breeders and other gaushalas by providing them with high quality bulls as well as semen are the main activities of Kamdhenu program. In addition gobar electricity plant, manure composting plant, organic farming and ayurvedic medicines are the associate activities focused on making zero-waste and sustainable system.
Swami Chinmayanandji states that Sahiwal cow has the capacity to yield 30-35 litre milk/day while its’ world record is 40 litre/day in Pakistan. However it would require immense work for achieving this goal with consistent investment of time and resources in the breed improvement, “We are working diligently in this direction. To do so we have selected elite bulls in our gaushala for selective genetics and breeding. Every minute detail of pedigree is documented in our software. Every single cow and bull has its specific name and number. And with these efforts we are confident that generation by generation the milk yield capability will be improved,” he asserts. Latest technology in livestock breeding ‘Embryo Transplant Technique (ETT) ’ is also used at DJJS-Kamdhenu program. ETT is the reproductive biotechnology where male and female genetic material is utilized for the faster improvement in the number of cattle. It has been successfully implemented in Sahiwal breed cattle.
When asked if ETT is effectual, he clarifies, ‘ETT is primarily used for improving characteristics and features of embryo/calf production precisely for bulls. It is the need of the hour to adopt this technology to augment the numbers by ensuring the quality of the breed is enhanced hence for the time being it is good for the breeding.” Using ETT for the first time in Punjab four calves were born to the same Mother cow named ‘Nandini’. “It was a special cow! It used to yield 22 litre milk/day. We have five daughters and four sons of Nandini with us.”
Age and weight of the cow are two important factors to be considered for breeding. The female calf should be 27+ months and weigh 250+ kg then it is ready for artificial insemination or natural mating. “It is crucial to wait till 27 months because the calf needs strong foundation for its entire life. Sahiwal breed can definitely reproduce till 15-17 times if raised with proper look after and it has the ability to even surpass this number!” he asserts.
Improving Breed Quality
Unfortunately due to cross breeding of HF and Jersey bulls with desi cows native breeds of India have become impure! To revive the superior quality of native breeds, Swami Chinmayanandji suggests, “Now we have to reverse the process. HF and Jersey cows must now be inseminated with semen of pure bulls of indigenous breeds. This is referred as back-crossing. However cross-breeding within Indian desi breeds strictly should not be done such as Gir-Sahiwal or Tharparkar-Sahiwal. After all it is the bull that will decide how much milk the cow will yield! Farmers need to understand this genetics and change their breeding practices.” Only with consistent efforts in breeding the native breed quality would be re-established in the offsprings after few generations. Improved breed quality is directly proportional to enhanced milk production and longevity that means increased number of lactations in total lifetime.
In order to improve the breed quality DJJS-Kamdhenu has set up semen station and sells pure male calves to different government run breeding centers, gaushalas and private breeders across the country. “We have huge demand for male calves so we sell against the orders. The cost varies as per the quality of bull pedigree. It can even be more than Rs. 2 lakh. People also ask for female calves too but we retain them with us because our milk consumption and milk sales are quite a lot. We rarely sell female calves,” he informs.
At the semen station, “Best quality of Sahiwal bull semen is sold to the farmers. We also sell bull semen of other four breeds. It is named as Kamdhenu Gaushala Sire Genetics ( KGSG). The semen is superior in quality and will surely be gainful for the farmers,” he shares. The price of semen is approximately Rs. 20-22/dose for the purchase of minimum 500 doses. If the quantity reduces the price increases. Price per dose changes after few months.
Fodder and Health Management
Kamdhenu gaushala at Nurmahal and New Delhi provides best living conditions and care to the cows. Swami Chinmayanadji highlights, “It is necessary to keep the calf near to its Mother cow. It must be left untied and allowed to move freely in its shed. Health must be monitored closely. Also nutrient rich fodder and concentrate must be fed to the cattle for steady growth and maintenance of the body. Here at DJJS we cultivate the fodder and ingredients of concentrate in our farmlands using natural farming practices. We are growing fodder for our herd in approximately 300 acre. If these points are implemented then definitely cows will yield high quantity of A2 milk.” To prepare the concentrate 14-16 ingredients are mixed. Few to name are maize, wheat, barely, pearl millet (bajra), mustard (sarso ki phalli), rice bran, mineral mixture, sugarcane and soybean etc. There are different formulas of concentrate preparation in specific for calf, cows in dry period, cows in lactation period and bulls. The ingredients also vary as per the climatic conditions. Similarly green fodder fed to the cattle is seasonal.
Regular health check-up is done of entire cattle herd twice in year. The calves are vaccinated well although Sahiwal breed is disease resistant. Cows are segregated and kept in separate sections according to their age groups, health conditions, physical potential and milking potential. “Breeding is done only with our selective bulls. And we never allow entry of other cows in our herd,” he adds.
DJJS-Kamdhenu envisions entire country to rear indigenous dairy breeds and part-off with foreign breeds completely. To accomplish this ultimate ambition the organization empowers farmers, cow breeders, students of veterinary studies and animal husbandry as well as staff of other gaushalas through capacity building and training workshops. “We are even associated with many Government dairy organizations and departments. We all are working jointly,” he updates. These workshops have exhaustive course outline that covers every aspect of rearing Indian desi cows with substantial attention to breeding. “Entire nation has to work together towards common objective.”
Awareness on desi dairy breeds is increasing amongst the dairy farmers. “Government too is promoting but must put more vigorous efforts to take the best quality bull semen at farmers’ door steps and train them on breeding excellence,” he emphasizes.
In future DJJS-Kamdhenu has many ambitious plans such as setting up laboratory for ETT and training centers. However these plans are on hold due to lack of funds. The officials seek financial support from the Government to scale up the operations and serve the country.
Swami Chinmayanandji concludes with a positive note, “Our country soon will be seeing a major turning point in dairy industry surrounding Indian native dairy breeds. Farmers who will adopt the change will excel and those who do not will be left behind. Farmers must no longer stay entangled in wrong perceptions towards desi cow that it yields less milk, evaluate on long term gains and be the part of affirmative change of A2 milk production. Be committed to our Indian dairy breeds, keep the patience and experience prosperity.”
Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan
Nakodar Road, Nurmahal, Jalandhar – 144039, Punjab, India.
Phone : 01826-242913, 243913